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  • Interview: Spank Rock

    Thu, 15 Nov 2007 16:10:46

    Interview: Spank Rock - The raunchy MC lets loose about greasy photo shoots, his ghettotech mentor and remaining honest behind the persona

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    Spank Rock (rapper Naeem Juwan) kicks lyrics that would make the most smut-hardened listener blush. He was one of the artists who helped usher in the fast-rising club rap sound that's blowing out speakers across the country. For a genre founded on street lamp-powered parties in the park, fun has been noticeably absent from rap for too long now. Artists like Spank Rock, Kid Sister and Plastic Little, with their bubbly basslines and tongue-in-cheek raunch, are ready to let the good times roll again.

    For his newest project, Bangers and Cash, Spank Rock teamed up with producer Benny Blanco for an homage to the original masters of bawdy rap, 2 Live Crew. Sampling the Miami Bass allstars on every track, the two cooked up an ode equally worthy of strip club routines and hipster adoration.

    We caught up with him to see how this new project came to be and get details on what's around the corner. He gave us the real deal about his steamy, oil-and-water photo shoot, his belief in honesty and his commitment to making high art from the lowest common denominator.

    Let's jump right on into it. Loving the new EP, it's off the chain.

    Thank you

    That name Bangers and Cash, that sums up a whole lot of different things. Where did you come up with that title?

    I don't know man. We were having a hard time picking a name, but I have a pretty big European influence in my style so it was a play off of bangers and mash—the meat and potatoes thing in London. But it makes so much sense in hip-hop.

    And in the context of the record for sure.

    Definitely in the context of the record. That's what all theses little hip-hop kids care about anyway, club bangers and cash.

    Cut right to the chase; I like it. The production on there is real hot, and I know you hooked up with Benny Blanco on it. How did you guys first come together for this collaboration?

    Yeah, Benny's crazy yo. He's 19. I meet him when I was working with Disco D last year, and he was interning for him. Then when D passed away we reconnected. We were hanging out and it kind of fucked both our heads up a lot, cause D was really helping us develop our skills. [pauses] From that happening Benny decided that we should probably start working on some stuff. He had this idea to do Spank Rock vs. 2 Live crew, and I agreed to it.

    I know a lot of your fans might get turned on to Disco D as a pioneer of a lot of what's going on out there right now in club rap, so I feel like this record could serve to promote his style and his name to people who might not have even known but now can appreciate.

    I'm sure. With him doing all the Detroit ghettotech and being part of that home grown electronic scene, it's similar to Baltimore, it's similar to Miami Bass. And with Benny working under him, it really makes a lot of sense, and helps the EP come together very well.

    You talked about it, but this record is all about you going head to head with 2 Live Crew. Miami Bass was a big inspiration on Benny's production and your work with Spank Rock. How did you decide that 2 Live would be the group that you did this with?

    You know, people's first reaction to me is that all I talk about is sex on my records. So Benny was like, "Yo 2 Live Crew is the nastiest group ever. We gotta do this as a tribute," and it makes sense I guess. We tried to make the EP sound a little different, it doesn't sound exactly like Miami bass, it's really just an homage. We definitely tried to put our own style into it.

    You can hear it loud and clear. Has Uncle Luke or anyone else from the group heard what you guys have done? Has it trickled down that far, and have you heard back from them?

    I believe so. The Fader did this awesome interview with me and Luther Campbell in its new issue that was like the craziest experience I've ever had in my life.

    That's awesome, he's a legend.

    He's definitely a legend.

    In your lyrics you get real with it and things get kind of dirty. When people meet you, do they expect you to be that dude?

    No, not at all. I think it's important, and I may be one of the only rappers to say this, but I'm an artist. These things we make are art projects. So each album—each thing I sit down to do—different parts of my personality come through in it.

    Let's talk about that photo shoot. That's an awful lot of dumps in the trunk on that cover. What was it like shooting that?

    That shit was crazy! [laughs] It was the craziest shit I've ever done in my life. The girls were actually kind of cute—they were big—but they were cute in the face. It was sick though, cause they just keep spraying us with oil and water, and the lights were beaming down on you. It started to feel like Miami, even though the backdrop was wheat-pasted on.

    I saw you had a big handful on the inside picture.

    Yo, it was like eight titties at once! [laughs] Shit was crazy.

    Any plans for crazy, booty backup dancers out on the tour and just get straight 2 Live Crew with it?

    No, I'm a bit classier than that; I'd like to think. I had some dancers with me before but they were trained in West African dance. So even though they can drop it like it's hot-and they did-it was still an art to it. It wasn't trying to exploit them at all.

    Well, that's a good point. Even though you have these crazy themes, the music is still adventurous and well-crafted. People might only hear the dance part in it at first, but when you really sit down and listen to it you hear how well it's put together. Can you talk about trying to meld the two things; the fun and the art?

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